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County approves $500,000 for Granger

$3 million in private funds slated for truck travel plaza

Yakima County commissioners yesterday approved a $500,000 grant/loan package for road and other upgrades in Granger's Bailey Hill Road area.

The commissioners' action followed a recommendation made last month by a county-wide panel known as Supporting Investments in Economic Diversification (SIED).

The $500,000, split evenly between a low interest loan and grant, will help Granger complete more than $900,000 in infrastructure improvements to serve 10 acres for commercial development near I-82, Exit 58.

According to Steve Hill, the county's community services director, the funds will also help set the stage for a new truck travel plaza to be built near the freeway exit later this year.

Hill said work scheduled for the area includes water and sewer mains, as well as construction of a turn lane on a portion of SR 223 to accommodate additional truck traffic from the travel plaza.

The money for the grant/loan comes from a portion of sales tax collected by the county, which is set aside for projects related to economic development.

According to documents from last month's SIED meeting, it is anticipated there will be private investment of $3 million in developing the truck stop, which is owned by Paul Sohi of Sunnyside.

In addition to building construction, Sohi will be responsible for widening and providing turn lanes to a portion of SR 223 in the vicinity of the truck stop to accommodate additional traffic.

The surrounding area around the truck stop will also benefit from increased water flow from a new water line.

Known as the Granger Travel Plaza, the truck stop will sit on 21 acres across from the existing Conoco gas station just off I-82.

The first of two construction phases is expected to be completed next year, and will include a Subway sandwich shop, Chevron gas station, laundromat, showers and check cashing services.

Sohi has indicated he plans to hire somewhere between 20 to 25 people when phase one is completed. At full build-out, the travel plaza is expected to employ 40 workers.

According to SIED, the city of Granger is expected to reap $125,000 in annual sales tax revenue once the travel plaza is completed.

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